The European Space Agency (ESA) Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer mission – “Juice” – is ready to begin its journey to the largest planet in the solar system.
Juice is scheduled to launch today, April 14, at 14:14 CEST (13:15 BST). Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
The launch was supposed to take place yesterday but was postponed due to poor weather conditions.
Juice will make the 8-year, 6.6 billion km journey to study three of Jupiter’s moons: Ganymede, Callisto and Europa. Each of these worlds has an ocean of water hidden beneath an icy shell – an important goal for astronomers looking for life beyond Earth.
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The ESA will stream the launch live on its website and further his YouTube channel which you can view below. French viewers have access ESA’s Web TV Two.
The satellite will lift off over Europe Ariane 5 rocket. Due to the intricacies of the trajectory that Juice will take to Jupiter, the rocket must lift off within a one-second window. Fortunately, additional one-second launch windows will be available each day until the end of April should today’s launch not be successful.
The Ariane 5 rocket will launch Juice into orbit. The launch is the penultimate flight of the heavy-lift Ariane 5, which will soon be retired after more than 30 years of service. Photo credit: ESA.
If all goes according to plan, Juice will separate from the Ariane 5 upper stage at 14:42 CEST before transmitting its first signal to the surface at 14:51 CEST. The space agency expects the solar arrays to be fully deployed by 3:55 p.m. EDT.
0️⃣ Good morning on the launch day of #ESAJuice!
How to follow👉https://t.co/WoeO7VSwWQ
Key moments (time = CEST):
🔴 13:45 live launch program starts at esawebtv
🚀 14:15 start
📡 14:51 detection signal (earliest)
🛰️15:55 Use of the solar system (time may vary)
Questions? #AskESA! pic.twitter.com/oaV77pV5iz
— ESA’s Juice Mission (@ESA_JUICE) April 13, 2023
Juice is equipped with two surveillance cameras that will capture parts of the deployment of the solar array after launch and the deployment of the 16 m long radar antenna a few days later. If suitable images are acquired, they will be made available for publication at the earliest possible date, ESA said.
In the two weeks following launch, the satellite will deploy all of its antennas and instrument booms. This will be followed by a three-month period during which all of the spacecraft’s science instruments will be commissioned.
Ariane 5 (left) Juice is released into space just 28 minutes after launch. Photo credit: ESA.
It will be even longer before its first flyby, which is scheduled for August 2024. Then, about a day and a half later, it will fly past the moon and then Earth. The satellite will use the Earth-Moon gravitational field to propel itself toward Jupiter.
Juice is scheduled to arrive at Jupiter in July 2031.
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